People-based marketing across device and across channels (with pinpointing deterministic accuracy) is a critical new superpower that — so far — only Facebook has up and running.
Facebook derives its superhero strength from consumer logins, which it gains access to because consumers actually log in from multiple devices. When a user logs into Facebook from more than one device, Facebook’s Atlas, a powerful ad platform, can map one anonymized ID to the next device using the login data as the universal identifier. (Google could do this, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t actually built it yet.)
Interestingly, with great foresight, AOL’s Tim Armstrong had been focused on acquiring a superpower solution of his own and has done a bang-up job. That’s certainly the lion’s share of what attracted Verizon as a suitor. However, like everyone, AOL has been struggling to connect the dots. Connecting the dots more often than not means mapping a de-identified email address to an ID (your email address does not change cross-channel or cross-device), and that had been AOL’s Achilles heel. AOL had identifiers smattered across its properties (AOL, TechCrunch, Engadget, etc.) and had to piece them together. Conversely, market leader Facebook had all the logins in one place. Clearly, Facebook was in the driver’s seat.
Catalogs in ecommerce: unnecessary or indispensable?